Feeds

First details on EC data protection action against UK revealed

Commission at last explains why it gave UK a Data Protection Directive fail ...

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Details of the European Commission's objections to the Data Protection Act (DPA) have been revealed for the first time. A document has been published outlining why the Commission thinks the DPA fails to implement the EU's Data Protection Directive.

The information is contained in a Commission response to a four-year-old freedom of information request by privacy and data protection specialist Chris Pounder. Pounder was only sent the material after the European Ombudsman intervened.

It was already known that the Commission has objected to the DPA, saying that it fails to implement 11 of the Directive's 34 articles. The Commission is taking infringement proceedings against the UK based on its claims that the DPA fails to implement articles 2, 3, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 22, 23, 25 and 28 of the Directive.

The document sent to Pounder gives a small amount of detail on each of those 11 sections.

"Article 12 of the Directive gives data subjects the right to check the accuracy of their data, ensure that the data are being kept up-to-date, and have their data rectified, erased or blocked if necessary," said the Commission's explanation (five-page/168KB PDF). "The Data Protection Act, however, appears to confer upon the courts a discretion to grant or refuse applications made by data subjects in this regard."

The document said that the Commission also objected to the way that the DPA appears to "narrow the scope of non-material damage", impacting on the compensation that people can be awarded for damage resulting from data-protection law breaches.

It also said that it had concerns about whether or not "the supervisory authority" – meaning the Information Commissioner's Office – has sufficient powers.

The Commission is challenging not only the Government's interpretation of the Directive but also that of the courts. It said that it had concerns about a ruling in the case of Michael Durant, who tried but failed to access information about himself held by the Financial Services Authority.

"The issue regarding Article 2 concerns the definition of 'filing system', and the interpretation of this definition in the judgment in the 'Durant' case, which appeared to be narrower than that in the Directive," said the document.

The Commission also has concerns about what information people can demand from organisations about themselves; about whether information about criminal offences is treated differently to other information; and about the way in which organisations' assessment of third countries' data-protection systems is monitored.

Pounder was sent the information after a long process, in which he had enlisted the help of the European Ombudsman, who recommended that the Commission give him "summary information". The initial request for information was made in April 2007.

"The attachment to this blog does not comprise state secrets," Pounder said in a blog post detailing the results of his enquiries. "In 'liberating' these details, the Commission has required me to exhibit an obsessive behaviour on the autistic spectrum; they have delayed wherever possible, required me to endlessly chase them up, and provided bogus arguments in order to stop the release of these details," he wrote.

"When reading this list, remember these were the deficiencies that were identified by the Commission in 2004 following [the Durant case]," he wrote. "Quite frankly, it is unacceptable for the detail of this list of problems to have been kept secret for seven years."

Copyright © 2011, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.